DETROIT—General Motors, which last month parted company with senior vice president of corporate communications and public policy Selim Bingol, has brought back former communications chief Steve Harris “"on a contract basis for a limited time" as it continues to deal with the fallout from its failure to recall vehicles suffering from a deadly defect.

The company has recently recalled 2.6 million vehicles as a result of the ignition switch defect, which GM says was known to its engineers since 2001. The problem has been linked to 13 deaths.

Harris, who retired from GM in 2004, returned to the company for the first time in 2006 as the company dealt with the financial crisis that ultimately led to its bankruptcy. He retired again in 2009 and had been serving for the past three years as a partner at McGinn & Company, a crisis management consultancy based in Arlington, Va.

“We continue to draw from a variety of expertise to help guide our response to the ignition switch recall,” GM spokesman Greg Martin said in a statement. “Steve Harris’ deep background with GM and proven experience will be of great help to us during this period of time.”

GM also recently hired crisis communications expert Jeff Eller—former chairman of Public Strategies—to provide public relations counsel.